I was in love in the library. I had a perch, and a future
life in symbols. I’d been listening to the radio.
The kitchen bubbled a bath of wilting leaves, a sauce
thick with blood and a half spoon of vinegar.
In the hall of books the swinging perch and doll eyes wobbled.
A song came on. A dove song.
Empty of bones full of liver without gall my heart
open, the blood clot which forms in the middle removed.
Arrange my heart on a round plate. It is a small heart
and a small plate, the doll’s a girl at the window plays with.
Stop, warm library. Stop, square window, tender symbol. Stop
little girl the peacemaker, wooden grip and polished nickel.
She was going to miss me, miss all of us.
She was hungry; it was late.
(Published at Iowa Writes)